Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 24, 2019)
Today’s readings reveal to us that being made into the image of God we are called to be compassionate and forgiving as Jesus was. St. Francis de Sales notes: “Our Lord came into this world so that all might live a more abundant life and receive a better life. When we see the excessive evils that our loved ones endure, they arouse great compassion and love in us. Yet, we ought to help and express our love to all those who have great need of us. Frequently it is those who bring us more pain than comfort.”
Console the sick and visit the poor. Have compassion for their infirmities, letting these acts touch your heart. It is here that we show that we love from holy love. Pray for them as you help them. Yet, be careful that you do not neglect your responsibilities to your own family household while you care for others. We must ask God to help us love others, especially those for whom we have no inclination to love. They will have a more abundant life by the example you give them.
Since God wants us to love and cherish others, we must see God’s love in our neighbor. Even though at first we seem reluctant to do so, we must not give up practicing this love of neighbor outwardly. But we must not be surprised if we find ourselves not equally kind and gentle. Be patient with everyone’s imperfections but especially your own. Have the courage to pick yourself up after a fall. There’s no better way to grow in God’s love than to always start over again and never think that we have done enough.
Do not worry whether or not your work will bear the fruit you intend to produce, for you will not be asked for the fruit. You will only be asked if you faithfully occupied yourself in cultivating well these barren and arid lands. You will not be asked whether you have gathered in a harvest, but only if you have taken sufficient care to sow the seed.
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)